Hybrid work environments create unique challenges and opportunities for building and sustaining company culture, but they don’t have to be impossible to navigate. The rise of remote and freelance work has changed the way we look at traditional Hybrid workplaces, but it’s not always easy to put those new ideas into practice. If you have clients all over the world, or if you outsource some of your own functions, creating an environment that values company culture can be challenging. With these tips on how to build and sustain company culture in a hybrid work environment, though, you can bring this approach into your day-to-day life as much as possible without sacrificing quality or productivity.
Not all work takes place in the office, but that doesn’t mean that a company culture can’t be fostered and sustained. With the right strategies, you can foster and maintain company culture even if your team doesn’t regularly meet in person.
Here are 10 ways to build and sustain company culture in Hybrid work culture.
1) Communicate and listen to your employees
No two employees are alike, so why would you treat them that way? So many companies end up treating their remote workers as second-class citizens who can’t be trusted with as much responsibility or leeway, but that’s simply not fair. Do your best to get acquainted with each employee on an individual level; when you do, you’ll find that they’re all working for your success. Your team members should feel like their ideas are welcomed, regardless of where they’re sitting. Keep lines of communication open between yourself and remote employees—good communication will boost morale and productivity.
When communicating from a distance, think about things from their perspective; what is it like for them? What can you do to make it easier for them? Then act accordingly! If you want a culture that promotes trust and growth, then embrace remote work. It takes effort, but it’s worth it in the long run.
It’s also important to remember that out of sight doesn’t mean out of mind. Although virtual teams don’t have to see each other every day, they still need some form of communication (like video calls) just to keep everyone connected. That said, keep meetings short and focused on goals; time together is valuable! A 30-minute weekly call is enough time for everyone to touch base and check-in with one another—if there’s more information sharing needed than usual (for example project updates), then schedule more frequent calls throughout the week or month instead.
2) Share Vision
If everyone is constantly looking at their own tasks or goals, then it’s impossible for your team members to see how they fit into your organization as a whole. So begin by making sure that each employee knows why they are part of your company’s vision. It should be evident from their daily activities what role they play within that bigger picture, but there’s nothing wrong with ensuring your employees know exactly how it all works. Provide examples: Show, don’t tell. Create situations where employees can experience working together towards common goals, with success being collectively achieved through individual efforts.
As you provide these opportunities, also highlight how much easier it is to work as a cohesive unit than it would be if everyone was doing their own thing. Shared Values: Once you have made sure that every member of your team understands why they are part of your organization, make sure they understand what values you expect them to carry out during their time with you. This will help them understand not only what makes up good work habits but also what makes up good character. Be consistent: As human beings, we crave consistency and routine so when there isn’t any we feel lost and out of place.
3) What type of culture do you want?
Start by creating a list of values that embodies what your organization stands for. It’s helpful to consider whether your company will have multiple offices or locations, as some cultures can be effective at one location but toxic at another. Also think about how you want employees and clients alike to feel: Are you looking for an innovative team that is forward-thinking? An environment where people are empowered? These are just some of many important things to consider when building culture—and it’s something that should evolve as your business changes.
If your business grows, it may need more structure, while if it shrinks, expect less. Make sure these factors are always included when thinking about what type of culture you want, no matter where you are or who joins your team. What behaviors do you want?
Having established a foundation of what kind of culture you’re looking for, it’s time to move on to behavioral expectations. This part is all about accountability. Once again, make sure there are clearly defined expectations around work ethic, collaboration and communication styles, customer service habits and decision-making processes. Many companies use personality assessments such as Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) tests with their teams so they can better understand how each person prefers to work. When individuals know how they fit into the big picture—as well as others on their team—they tend to feel more motivated because they understand their role within the group dynamic and its purpose within their overall mission statement.
4) Make sure there are clear rules
When you let your employees work remotely, it’s important to make sure they’re not just doing whatever they want. Establishing clear guidelines for working remotely will help prevent your team from becoming too distracted. If you’re working for a growing company, consider allowing employees to work remotely on Fridays or only when their performance is top-notch. Just be sure that you communicate rules clearly upfront so everyone understands what’s expected of them. Before your team members set their own hours, get clear agreements about who owns what duties and how people are expected to perform them (and monitor performance).
Remote work can lead to fuzzy boundaries between life and business—make sure everyone knows where these lines are drawn. The most successful remote workers have bosses who check in regularly with them via phone calls, video calls, email, etc. No matter how good at communication someone is, regular face time with your boss should be non-negotiable.
Set specific goals: If you’re thinking about hiring remote workers but don’t know exactly what kind of role you’d like to fill, set some specific goals before making any offers. For example: Do you need someone to provide customer support? Create a process by which your remote workers can share customer feedback and concerns with other employees if needed; make sure all feedback goes through one person who’s responsible for recording it all so that no customer gets lost in translation.
Define concrete processes: You may find yourself facing unique challenges when managing remote teams.
5) Give autonomy and freedom
The main feature of Hybrid work culture is that it combines remote workers with your on-site team. This means that you don’t need to micromanage your employees. Instead, you can trust them and their judgment. Offer freedom at work; let them work from home or abroad if they want to, and allow each employee to set his own working hours. Give them autonomy over how they do their jobs—as long as it gets done correctly!
Be open about what needs to be done: If you’re working remotely, there are no walls separating your employees from one another. They know exactly what everyone else is doing, which allows for open communication between them. This also helps break down barriers between departments and offices, making communication more effective overall. Encourage your employees to communicate openly by holding weekly meetings where everyone shares what they accomplished last week and what they plan on doing next week.
You could even use tools like Slack or Google Hangouts for these meetings so that all of your teams can participate simultaneously—and you won’t have to worry about scheduling conflicts because everyone will be available at once!
6) Foster Interdepartmental Communication
Because teams that work together do better work. In departments where managers are of similar rank, be open about your objectives for both sales and service, not just one or the other. Be transparent with each other’s metrics: Knowing your co-workers’ numbers gives you more opportunities to team up and cross-sell each other’s services.
Play friendly competitions against each other: Keep score on games like Quora (the question-and-answer platform) have fun but get you talking across departmental lines.
Start weekly interdepartmental lunches or social events: If you don’t know who people are outside of their cubicles, get to know them! It doesn’t matter if it’s lunch or happy hour, as long as you’re getting to know each other personally.
Celebrate company wins together: Don’t celebrate alone—celebrate together! Everyone wants to feel included when something good happens at work, so make sure everyone feels like they’re part of a winning team by celebrating big wins with company-wide parties and office celebrations.
Share best practices across departments: The best way to learn is from others’ mistakes—so share those lessons learned by publishing success stories from different departments on your internal intranet or sending out an email newsletter highlighting what worked well in different areas of your business. These are some shot steps to building a hybrid work culture.
7) Encourage everyone’s participation
There is no one right way to do hybrid work. How you run your project management software or remote teams may vary from person to person, but one thing that should remain consistent is an open-door policy. Give team members all of your contact information and encourage them to ask questions, share feedback, and discuss problems—whatever it takes. If there’s ever a discrepancy or concern within your team regarding something as simple as email etiquette or communication methods, take time on that issue immediately with everyone who’s involved (both in-person and remote) so it doesn’t snowball into bigger issues later on.
At its core, creating a company culture in a Hybrid work culture means encouraging participation from every single member of your team. Without participation, you can’t foster teamwork; without teamwork, your business will fail. Period.
Communicating clearly and regularly is key to establishing trust among co-workers (and clients). Set up weekly video calls with all employees to keep lines of communication open, regardless of location or role within the organization; even more frequent phone calls are encouraged if they make sense for each individual team member’s situation.
8) Support your employees’ growth
As workforces transition from traditional, in-office jobs to more flexible, remote ones, it’s important that managers continue to support their team members’ growth. This is especially true for employees who aren’t necessarily sitting across from you or working out of your company’s office. You’ll want to communicate with employees frequently and check in on their progress with ongoing conversations about both their career goals and how you can help them reach those goals. Even if you’re managing your team virtually or partially remotely, there are still plenty of ways for you as a manager to learn about your team members’ skill sets and how they operate within your organization.
Keep an eye out for these signs that indicate your employees need some additional guidance: They don’t have many opportunities coming up at work. Your virtual workers may not be getting enough assignments because you’re not giving them opportunities to demonstrate their skill set. While it might seem like assigning tasks will take too much time away from your other responsibilities, consider delegating more often so each employee has something new to do every week (or even every day).
They get stuck on one project and have trouble. If an employee seems stuck on one project and isn’t able to move forward with anything else, ask what’s going on.
9) Develop leaders inside your company
By placing perks on offer for employees, you can attract talent that matches your corporate culture and make sure you’re picking up folks who will stick around. We all know traditional perks like free food are a great place to start, but there’s no reason your non-traditional benefits have to be any less enticing. For example, one of our client companies is using membership badges at select fitness centers as employee perks, while another has put together an intramural softball league. A player’s lounge stocked with games like ping-pong or pool isn’t just fun—it also gives workers space away from their desks that they might not otherwise use if it weren’t available. These types of amenities give new hires something to look forward to and keep current employees happy. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
Besides perks like these, consider implementing other company culture-building initiatives into your hiring process. You could try interviewing applicants via video chat, having them complete a project instead of writing a cover letter, or asking them to submit samples of previous work. Doing so will allow you to determine how well candidates would fit into your office environment before bringing them on board full time.
If you aren’t already doing so, take some time to map out what your company culture looks like today and where it needs improvement before drawing up goals for its future state. Note both tangible things (like office layout) and intangible aspects (like attitudes). Then build hiring strategies based on those findings so you can recruit people who align with those goals.
10) Use perks that fit your brand
Whether your team is entirely remote or you have some coworkers who work from home, it’s hard to define what your company culture looks like. Since you’re not all in one place, there are new opportunities for keeping your workforce happy. Instead of offering fun food options for workers who come into the office (it’s easy enough for remote workers to just bring their own), consider offering an employee discount on healthy food items instead. Or, when it comes time for your annual company retreat, don’t make everyone fly somewhere—invite them (remotely) to dinner at a local restaurant instead.
These perks can help people feel more connected with one another while giving you brand visibility that doesn’t cost as much as travel or fancy snacks would. You could even save money by asking your employees to share their favorite restaurants. This makes it easy for everyone involved and helps spread awareness about your business as well.
When thinking about how to build and sustain company culture in Hybrid work culture, keep in mind that building connections between coworkers aren’t always based on physical proximity. By offering incentives that encourage teamwork rather than those based around location, you can build up goodwill among employees no matter where they live or how they get things done during off-hours. These were the 10 ways how to build and Sustain Company Culture in a Hybrid Work Environment.
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